April 12, 2016

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sad Things Are Good: More Opposites from Third Grade

Available at Amazon.
One of my favorite books of opposite poems is by the poet Richard Wilbur. The story is that opposites were a dinnertime game Wilbur played with his children. One person would think of a word (sometimes outlandish). The rest of the family would try to come up with the best opposite.

Wilbur's poems, often rhyming, offer hysterical insight into these opposites. In one of my favorites, he makes a case for "pillow" as the natural opposite for "armadillo."

Another book I recommend when the students are working on opposite poems is I Am the Dog, I Am the Cat by poet Donald Hall.

At Goodreads.
This wonderful read-aloud not only teaches about opposites (dog vs. cat), but illustrates use of voice in poetry. The poems are spoken alternately by the dog and the cat, laying out the similarities and differences between the two sometime-friends, sometime-enemies.

Here are the last of the opposite poems by the Northfield third graders. Thanks to their families and teachers for allowing me to post their work!

A lesson plan for the opposite poem workshop is posted here.

It's not surprising -- this being May, school is not quite winding down yet -- that Jenny expresses how different home and school can feel in late spring.

Jenny D.

Home, School

Home: I can watch TV.
I can make some crafts.
Kristen can play with me.
I might get some clay.
I’ll eat my cake half.
We’ll play all day.

School: Tons of writing.
Tons of reading.
So much fighting.
Cannot play.
Have a meeting.
Homework all day.

A few years ago, a student proposed "Real and Imaginary" when we were brainstorming opposites. For the fantasy readers in the classroom like Minuk, this makes a great topic. I love the way the poem closes on a powerful, real animal.

Minuk H.

Real Animals and Fake Animals

Griffins are big.
Pegasus flies high.
Unicorns are beautiful.
Giants stomp really hard.
Dragons shoot fire.

Dogs bark loud.
Cats play with yarn.
Snakes attack fast.
Frogs hoppity hop.
Lions are king of the jungle.

Visit the Animal Crossing Wiki page for kids.
I was intrigued by the topic of Vivian's second stanza. Is it possible to feel sad and good at the same time? She chooses some beautiful images to prove the point.

Vivian H.

Happy Things Are Great

Happy things are great:
Like blooming flowers in spring
Or animals like deer
Beautiful nature everywhere
And trees beside rippling water

Sometimes sad things are good too:
Like rain pounding on my roof
Or falling leaves meaning it’s time to bundle up
Oh, I wish I was bee sting proof

Tomorrow is Poetry Friday. I'll have some Northfield portrait poems to share. You won't believe how far the third graders' imaginations roam when they're pretending to be someone else.

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